‘The Prisoner: The Complete Series” Blu-ray review (Detroit Metrotimes)

One of the most confusing, complex, paranoid and endlessly rewarding television series of the ’60s has been remastered in high-definition just in time for the debut of a revamped new version on A&E. While the new mini-series has been the justifiable recipient of plenty of praise, digging into the original, 17-episode series is still a far superior experience. The densely plotted (and often convoluted) tale of a former spy (known only as “Number Six”) and his perilous travails in “The Village” – a top-secret holding pen for ex-spooks and other high-security-clearance individuals who are no longer working for the government – is not only ripe for repeated viewings, but the new Blu-ray transfer brings out the sort of visual detail that is all too often overlooked in television material this old. The creators of the show took nearly as much care with their set-pieces and camera angles as they did with the action and dialogue in the show, and on Blu-ray, those efforts are on ample display. Although The Prisoner is still a thoroughly British experience (Patrick McGoohan’s “Number Six” perfectly nails the mix of late ’60s zeitgeist and quirky sobriety that were battling for England’s soul at the time), the layers of espionage drama, allegorical fiction, and sheer weirdness translate well to anyone seeking a truly engrossing television experience. Lost fans take note: you may find your favorite show to be a little more derivative than you previously thought.

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